Saturday, March 3, 2007

Oops - we did it again!

Bidding slam when missing too many cashing aces happens to even the best players in the world. Here's a hand from this weekend's action in China at the Yeh Bros Cup.

This deal is from a knock-out match in the play-off (vs USA2) and features the reigning world pairs champions from China, Jack Zhao and Zhong Fu.


N/none, the auction went
(pass) - 1D - (2C) - 2H;
(3C) - 3D - (pass) - 4C;
(pass) - 4S - (pass) - 5C;
(pass) - 6D all pass

This cost 11 imps. What went wrong?

Clearly 2H was forcing and 3D seems ok (despite short H and minimum strength) playing a strong club (which I believe they do).

4C looks like a cue agreeing diamonds (but may have been only way to make a slamtry in diamonds if 4D would have been invitational only).

4S is a clear misbid in my view, this shows a better hand than this; I'd temporize with 4D instead.

Now West gets in an awkward position, not wanting to use Blackwood as a 2 ace reply will carry them overboard, although it's hard to see an East hand with only 2 aces after that 4S-bid. Maybe there is more to the auction for this pair than meets the eye.

5C looks like a "last-train" effort with better than expected trumps, a source of tricks with interior solidity in H's and the K of S. Could, on the other side, have been a plain cue-bid if 4C was just agreeing diamonds.

Whatever 5C meant, I looks like it was mis-interpreted as 6D suffered from a fatal shortage of aces. Maybe East expected a void with unsufficient strength to jump to 5C previous round.

Is there a point to this deal then? Yes, in my [subjective] view. An than important part of the methods your partnership uses is that they should, to the most possible extent, assist you and your partner in minimizing problems. If the Parity Key Card mechanism (described in previous post) had been used, West could effortlessly have bid 4NT over 4S, gotten a 5C-reply (0 or 2 keycards) and ended things with 5D.

If you think that "we would never gotten in to that mess", then you are kidding yourself. If something like this can happen to the world champions, then it sure can happen to you too.

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